PORTLAND, Ore. -- For Anne Bocci, Black Friday is usually a time to celebrate at her store, Anne Bocci Boutique in the Pearl District.
But this year, she did her best to stay positive under a dark cloud of worry.
“My issue is when someone threatens your life,” said Bocci. She was referring to an incident that happened this week when a man walked up to the clothing racks outside her shop near Northwest 12th Avenue and Glisan Street.
“He stole from me and he threatened my life, twice,” said Bocci. “The police came and then he came back four minutes later after they left.”
Bocci snapped a photo of the man and posted it on Facebook. She was flooded with responses from fellow merchants who shared similar stories.
A background check showed the man had dozens of arrests in Multnomah County, mostly for theft and trespassing. One of the merchants recognized the man from a recent KGW story on downtown safety. During an interview, the man interrupted to ask for money.
“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’” said Bocci. “That guy threatened my life!”
This week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler addressed several frustrated business owners. He shared how the city planned to keep merchants and shoppers safer during the holidays with more police officers walking foot patrols through the most popular shopping areas.
“Foot patrols will help,” said Bocci. She hoped a scheduled meeting with a representative from the mayor’s office would also put her mind at ease.
Bocci was thankful for continued support from her customers, but worried about neighboring shops.
“It's not a ‘homeless issue’ for me,” said Bocci. “I just don’t want this to happen to someone else.”